HC Deb 04 March 1879 vol 244 cc132-3

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is true that the amount of Duty realised by the Legacy and Succession Duty Office during the financial year 1878–9 is nearly half a million less than that collected by the same Department in 1877–8; and, whether this decrease in the revenue has occurred since the new scheme, by which the collection of the tax in the country was taken out of the hands of the local distributors, has been adopted?


Sir, the financial year has not yet closed, and, therefore, I am unable to give a precise answer; but as far as the year has gone, there has been a decrease of £350,000 in the legacy and succession duty as compared with the corresponding period of last year. The main reason for this decrease, I apprehend, is to be found in the depreciation in the value of stock on which the duty was assessed, and the general decrease in the value of property. But it is also a curious fact, for which I cannot account, that the number of wills proved in England last year was 2,000 less than in 1876, and any one year may be roughly said to depend on the number of wills proved. The change in the old system of collection caused some disturbance at first; but that difficulty, I believe, will be only temporary.